Ukraine church property dispute turns violent
Elderly women who were praying in the church were beaten
Property disputes in Ukraine have lead to the desecration of a church and violence against worshippers, according to Zenit news agency.
Bishop Stanislav Padewski of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhya, has denounced the attack in a Latin-rite Catholic church, calling it disgraceful.
Elderly women who were praying in the church June 27 were beaten and dragged out of it, Bishop Padewski told Aid to the Church in Need.
The church building, which was confiscated in communist times, had been sold illegally to a private company in 1998, changing hands several times since then. Meanwhile, the Church leaders are insisting that the property be properly returned to them.
"The new owners were now resorting to violent means in order to expel the Catholic faithful," the bishop explained. "Meanwhile, the police were doing nothing to stop them."
Marko Tomashek, an expert on Eastern Europe for Aid to the Church in Need, explained: "In Ukraine there are dirty business deals being done with Church property. A lot of money is being made through such illegal dealings."
Tomashek underlined that these deals have made "a tangled web" of relationships. The government has officially declared that Church properties and goods are to be restored to the rightful owners, but the new owners are furious and unwilling to return the properties, he said.
No doubt the authorities also have "made a lot on these deals" Tomashek added.
Bishop Padewski appealed to all believers in Ukraine to make reparation for this act of sacrilege against the church with an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.